Tag: Nicole Dixon

Fantasy teams: New Zealand A v. Jamaica

NEW Zealand have steadily developed the next tier of players over the past couple of years with coach Noeline Taurua taking a clear look to the future of the Silver Ferns as shown with the New Zealand A team. Pitted up against a developing yet strong Jamaican team the battle sees a variety of up and coming stars as well as some experienced and well-versed international players.

New Zealand A:

GK: Sulu Fitzpatrick
GD: Kayla Cullen
WD: Sam Winders
C: Kimiora Poi
WA: Whitney Souness
GA: Tiana Metuarau
GS: Maia Wilson

BENCH: Ellie Bird, Maddy Gordon, Temalisi Fakahokotau

Starting in defence is Pulse premiership player and electrifying goal keeper Sulu Fitzpatrick. The defender is quick on her feet, can leap into action in a heartbeat given her impressive hops and is extremely dynamic both in the air and at ground level. Accompanying her is former Silver Fern and lanky defender Kayla Cullen who oozes nothing but class. She can ply her trade in goal defence, goal keeper or wing defence such is her netball understanding, versatility, strong movement and read of the play making life hard for opposition attackers.

The midcourt is littered with nimble and speedy players that are renowned for their ability to dart around the court and cause havoc. Wing defence, Sam Winders knows what it takes to play at the highest level having stepped out on court for the Ferns multiple times. Her defensive pressure, three-foot marking and ability to shadow attackers makes her a daunting prospect for many as she is constantly on the lookout for her next intercept or tip. Energiser bunny, Kimiora Poi gets the nod at centre with the 168cm nippy midcourter able to exploit every tiny bit of space and use her speed to burn off opponents. Her quick hands into the circle also allows her to catch defenders off guard and deliver pin point passes into the shooters. Partner in crime, Whitney Souness takes out the wing attack position. Although she plays a similar role to Poi given their speed and dynamic movement, her strength around the circle edge and general ball placement to feed into the circle makes her a promising prospect for New Zealand netball.

Looking into the goal circle there is no shortage of talent headlined by the likes of Northern Stars goaler in the ANZ Premiership, Maia Wilson. The 22-year-old has come along in leaps and bounds with her strong holds, and clever footwork, while her impressive rebounding ability, high volume of shorts and accuracy to post are just a couple of key components in her game play. Out in goal attack is Tiana Metuarau who much like her other teammates has developed at a rate of knots with her impressive timing along the baseline and skill with ball in hand. Metuarau has speed to burn, is confident in the attacking third and is not afraid to take the game on.

Rounding out the squad is physical and ball winning defender Temalisi Fakahokotau, speedster Maddy Gordon and holding goaler Ellie Bird.

Jamaica:

GK: Shamera Sterling
GD: Jodi-Ann Ward
WD: Vangelee Williams
C: Adean Thomas
WA: Nicole Dixon
GA: Shanice Beckford
GS: Jhaniele Fowler

BENCH: Romelda Aiken, Khadijah Williams, Kadie-Ann Dehaney

There is no denying that the Sunshine Girls are bookended with top tier talent, able to turn a game on its head in a matter of seconds. Down in defence, Shamera Sterling leads the way with the long-limbed defender able to get a hand in everything that comes her way. Her ability to read the play, take a screaming intercept and constantly reject the ball from entering the goal circle is second to none. Out in goal defence, Jodi-Ann Ward plays a less flashy role than her defensive counterpart but still has an undeniable influence with her quick footwork, strong hands over pressure and court coverage to force timely turnovers. Ward is also very versatile able to move into wing defence and goal keeper when needed, giving her that competitive edge.

The midcourt is quite dynamic with all three players possessing plenty of speed to run opponents off their feet. The defensive minded Vangelee Williams is constantly on the hunt for an intercept with the wing defence able to read the play effortlessly and drop into the holes across the court. She is strong around circle edge to create tips and block easy access into the attacking third. Moving into centre is Adean Thomas with the 173cm midcourter able to take the ball at full speed and stop on a dime credit to her control and balance. Thomas is an exciting player to watch, able to light up the court with her playmaking style, dynamic footwork and vision into the circle. Similarly, Nicole Dixon plays with plenty of attacking flair able to find her fair share of space around the circle edge and deliver the ball into the goalers. She is quick off the mark and hardly ever stands still, always looking to work the angles and be an option in the attacking third.

Goal attack Shanice Beckford has speed and skill to boot, able to get under the feet of opposition defenders and command the ball despite her small stature. She is not afraid to back herself under or away from the post and is a real playmaker for Jamaica. Standing tall in goal shooter is Jhaniele Fowler with the 198cm goaler a commanding presence under the post. Her strength in the air is almost unmatchable, constantly reeling down any high balls, and using her body to ward off any oncoming defenders. She is hardly ever fazed by the defensive pressure and puts up a high volume of goals at an even higher accuracy.

On the bench is fellow towering goaler Romelda Aiken, along with dynamic midcourter Khadijah Williams and the ever-reliable Kadie-Ann Dehaney.

Who would win?

Boasting a slightly stronger midcourt group the New Zealand A team have the upper hand in the middle third with the likes of Winders, Poi and Souness all strong options. While Jamaica ooze nothing but class in both the goal keeper and goal shooter positions thanks to Sterling and Fowler it comes down to whether or not the Sunshine Girls can get on top of Wilson and Fitzpatrick to really romp it home something they definitely have the capability to do. With speed to boot and an uncanny intercepting ability Jamaica have a clear upper hand when it comes to not only connections across the court but so too scoring prowess.

Memorable Matches: South Africa defeat Jamaica – NWC 2019

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look at memorable matches in world netball history. Next up is South Africa SPAR Proteas’ stellar three goal victory over Jamaica at the 2019 Netball World Cup. Then world number two nation, Jamaica lost to the Spar Proteas for only the third time, seeing South Africa top Pool C heading into the preliminary rounds.

It was a spectacular start that kept the Proteas ahead from the get-go, limiting every opportunity the Sunshine Girls had to get goals and the board and forcing plenty of errors. While Jamaica has a wealth of talent bookending the court, where they lack some star-power is through the midcourt which is where they were well and truly beaten by South Africa.

The first half went all the way of the South Africans, leading by more than 10 goals at the main change. While it was partially down to the impressive scoreboard pressure the Proteas applied, full credit had to go to the defensive efforts of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni, with the pair denying every opportunity into the goal circle. Where Jhaniele Fowler is a major target at the post for Jamaica, Maweni well and truly shut her down while Pretorius kept the likes of Shanice Beckford away from her range.

Pretorius racked up three intercepts and four gains throughout. A real workhorse through the middle of the court, Erin Burger impressed with her ability to impact on and off the ball and propel the play forward, with Bongi Msomi doing what she does best in attack, running laps around her opposition to hand ball on a silver platter to Lenize Potgieter, who shot 19 goals alone in the first half – only two less than the Sunshine Girls did overall. 

But while the first half was all down to South Africa, Jamaica came out flying to well and truly outscore the Proteas in the second half. A massive 17 goal to 10 third quarter allowed the Sunshine Girls to power their way back into the game, only down by four goals by the final change. Burger was well matched in the second half by Nicole Dixon in at centre, while Vangelle Williams did whatever was necessary to limit Msomi’s impact by blocking her every move – but racking up the penalties as she did so, collecting 16 penalties out at wing defence, only two and one less than respective goal keepers, Sterling (19) and Maweni (18). Khadijah Williams racked up the 21 goal assists to form a threatening combination with Beckford feeding into the circle, racking up 12 alone in the second half.

Where goal keeper Shamera Sterling had a messy first half she cleaned up her act later, only picking up the eight penalties in the second half to pull back the margin, but was not entirely able to limit Potgieter’s silky movement at the post. Sterling only picked up the two intercepts across the entire game, with South Africa aware of the goal keeper’s ability to pluck ball out of the air with ease and able to poke holes in the defensive play.

Fowler dominated at the post with ease in the second half, drawing penalties from the long-limbed Maweni and shooting 23 goals at 100 per cent accuracy to keep Jamaica in the game. It was South Africa’s dominant defensive effort that kept them afloat even when Jamaica came out flying in the second half, with five Proteas collecting an intercept to their name. Where the Proteas racked up elements of defensive pressure, they also kept down the penalties, maintaining the defensive without the physicality. 

The last quarter was neck and neck with neither side really able to grab the momentum, seeing the score see-saw as each team took advantage of their centre pass. But a vital turnover or two allowed South Africa to always stay one step ahead of Jamaica, never conceding a goal for the Sunshine Girls to take the lead. While the defensive pressure was what saw the game come down to the close margin in the end, the phenomenal scoreboard pressure applied by both goal shooters saw the game come down to the wire with little to separate the two stars.

Fowler missed just the one goal all match for 38 goals at 97 per cent accuracy, while Potgieter was just as solid with 36 from 39 attempts. Their respective goal attacks in Beckford and Maryka Holtzhausen were not quite as accurate, shooting at 74 and 66 per cent respectively, but it was their ability to evade their opposition and assist their goal shooter that allowed them both to still have an impact.

JAMAICA 9 | 12  | 17 | 12 (52)
SOUTH AFRICA 16 | 16 | 10 | 13 (55) 

STARTING SEVEN

Jamaica
GS: Jhaniele Fowler
GA: Shanice Beckford
WA: Khadijah Williams
C: Nicole Dixon
WD: Vangelee Williams
GD: Stacian Facey
GK: Shamera Sterling

BENCH: Adean Thomas, Jodiann Ward, Romelda Aiken, Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Rebekah Robinson
COACH: Marvette Anderson, Sasher-Gaye Henry

 

South Africa

GS: Lenize Potgieter
GA: Maryka Holtzhausen
WA: Bongiwe Msomi
C: Erin Burger
WD: Khanyisa Chawane
GD: Karla Pretorius
GK: Phumza Maweni

BENCH: Shadine van der Merwe, Sigi Burger, Izette Griesel, Renske Stoltz, Zanele Vimbela
COACH: Norma Plummer

SHOOTING STATS

Jamaica
Jhaniele Fowler 38/39
Shanice Beckford 14/19

South Africa
Lenize Potgieter 36/39
Maryka Holtzhausen 19/29

2020 Nations Cup: Breakout performances

THE Nations Cup brought plenty of excitement with each nation boasting very talented line-ups filled with a host of young up and coming prospects. We take a look at each country and identify one key player that made a name for themselves on the international stage throughout the competition.

England – Eleanor Cardwell (GS/GA)

In a new look line-up the talented goaler made a lasting imprint on the Roses outfit with her composure and skill. The typical goal shooter was forced out of her comfort zone throughout games, pulling on the goal attack bib and plying her trade in the attacking third. She showcased her versatility and netball nous to read the play and use her height to full effect. Cardwell was not afraid to go to post, backing herself from range and swinging the ball around the circle edge to reposition under the post. The shooter positioned cleverly to gobble up any rebounds that came her way and used her feet to hold space under the post. It was a real testament to her mindset, able to come on and have an impact when things were not going to plan and adapting her game play to suit the needs of the Roses. Her connection with fellow goaler George Fisher is one to watch for future years with the duo finding good space, while her work with Kadeen Corbin was also solid.

Jamaica – Nicole Dixon (C/WA)

Dixon was one of the most consistent players through the midcourt for the Sunshine Girls with the 24-year-old using her speed and light frame to evade opponents across the court. The talented midcourter found plenty of space in the attacking third, hitting the circle edge with pace and precision. She used a variety of passes to shake up her deliveries into the circle and grew with confidence throughout the Nations Cup. She backed herself in the contest, unfazed by the extensive experience of opposing midcourters and worked well with Khadijah Williams to identify the space and capitalise. Dixon racked up the centre pass receives, using her footwork and dynamism to win the ball and weave it down the court.

New Zealand – Maia Wilson (GS)

It was a real coming of age game for the 22-year-old goal shooter. Wilson has been up there in the past couple years using her height and strength to claim prime positioning under the post but this tournament gave her the podium to well and truly shine. Her footwork and accuracy under the post were key aspects to her game and she was unfazed by the physical presence of opposition defenders. Her connection with captain, Ameliaranne Ekenasio was impressive with the two rotating through the circle seamlessly while creating blocks and holds to create easy access to goal. Wilson went from strength to strength throughout the Nations Cup, showcasing her range in the goal circle and high netball IQ to consistently provide an option in the attacking third. Her output was high, posting up plenty of shots and most importantly capitalising on her opportunities. Wilson is definitely a player to watch in the future, finding her feet against some of the world’s best defenders and growing with confidence.

South Africa – Rome Dreyer (C/WA)

With Erin Burger retiring, the reins to the midcourt were up for grabs and Rome Dreyer put her hand up. The talented midcourt player upped the ante throughout the Nations Cup using her change of pace to have an impact across the court. Still developing her craft, Dreyer showcased both her defensive and attacking tendencies to win ball back for her side or deliver well-weighted passes into the circle. Although costly at times, the midcourter has plenty of potential and could become the key cog in the midcourt for the Spar Proteas in years to come.

2020 Nations Cup preview: Finals

AN entertaining 2020 Netball Nations Cup has almost come to an end with the final day of action taking place less than 24 hours after the round robin competition concluded. Following three rounds, New Zealand has remained undefeated, while Jamaica picked up two wins against the other two nations to book a spot in the final against the Silver Ferns.

New Zealand vs. Jamaica

These sides faced off in Round 2 of the competition with the Silver Ferns producing a crushing 26-goal defeat over the Sunshine Girls. In that match, New Zealand dominated from start to finish, winning 71-45 in a one-sided affair. Across the four quarters, the Silver Ferns scored 18 or more goals in three quarters, whilst restricting the Sunshine Girls to 11 or less in three of those terms. Both teams are capable of scoring when in form, with a 34-goal final quarter (20-14 New Zealand’s way) a testament to that. It was Maia Wilson who shone brightest with 42 goals from 45 attempts and was too strong for Jamaica’s defensive unit. Shamera Sterling‘s athleticism and X-factor is best used moving around the goal circle, hunting for cross-court balls or influencing play but will have to try and body up on Wilson to throw her off her game. Wilson is far from the only dangerous shooter, with captain Ameliarnne Ekenasio the most damaging shooter in the side. She has been able to continue her role in goal attack with the retirement of Maria Folau, and has not missed a beat so far, able to set up scoring opportunities and go to post when she sees fitting. In the clash between these nations, Ekenasio scored 18 goals from 22 attempts and had 13 goal assists from 16 feeds. Up the other end of the court, Jane Watson will have a massive job trying to quell the influence of super shooter Jhaniele Fowler. The towering goal shooter was at her best in Jamaica’s last round win over England, but will have a greater challenge against Watson and Karin Burger, with Phoenix Karaka likely to spend time on Fowler as well. In the last clash, Fowler scored 38 goals from 40 attempts, but will also likely be double teamed again given her high-volume production. Through the midcourt, Nicole Dixon and Kimiora Poi could have some great battles with Poi earning a start in the Silver Ferns’ win over South Africa and not putting a foot wrong. Shannon Saunders and Gina Crampton will aide her in the midcourt, while Shanice Beckford‘s versatility between wing attack and goal attack is important for the Sunshine Girls. Collingwood Magpies fans will be keen to see how Jodi Ann Ward copes in the final with the Jamaican excitement machine to be a top inclusion for the Magpies this year in the Suncorp Super Netball. Overall, the depth of New Zealand should be too much, with star players both on the court and on the bench. Goalers Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Bailey Mes are impact players for the Ferns while Saunders and Karaka are equally important. Although the Sunshine Girls have some good young talents, they rely heavily on their top stars to get the win meaning New Zealand should take home the inaugural Nations Cup crown.

England vs. South Africa

The clash between two the two bottom sides from the tournament will be a fascinating one, with England getting up by five goals, 58-53, in the last clash between the teams in Round 2 of the competition. They were evenly matched for the most part, with only the Roses’ ability to stand up in crunch moments, particularly late in the contest being the key difference. Both sides have shown some strong signs this tournament, with the SPAR Proteas forcing the Silver Ferns onto the back foot in the Round 3 clash at times, but just not being able to produce it for long enough. England is in a similar situation, missing stars like Geva Mentor, Serena Guthrie and Jo Harten in each third of the court, they have had to rely on a lot of fresh faces getting increased roles against more experienced international players. South Africa on the other hand have gone through a little bit of a change, but ultimately have a close to full-strength outfit, and would be a bit disappointed not to pick up a win at this carnival after their World Cup showing by taking it up to the other nations. This game will likely come down to which nation will be able to hold up for long enough and play consistently through the midcourt to give their shooters the best chance of winning. Ine-Mari Venter was terrific in the mid two quarters against New Zealand and should be utilised well on court with Lenize Potgieter, making them a dual threat close to the post. While both prefer the goal shooter bib, their relationship inside the circle is crucial to South Africa putting up a big total here. Lefébre Rademan is another one to watch out for in the goal circle for the Proteas with the goal attack able to inject speed and dynamism to shake the opposition up. England might be missing a few names, but Jade Clarke and Nat Haythornthwaite provide a calming influence through the midcourt, with Haythornthwaite even spending time in goal attack in the absence of Helen Housby. Chelsea Pitman and Kate Shimmin provide an Adelaide Thunderbirds feel to the line-up, while you can never discount the excitement of George Fisher and Amy Carter. The Spar Proteas rely a lot on their attacking end’s flow, and Bongi Msomi is a crucial part of that line-up with her ability to feed through to the circle and provide goal assist opportunities with great leadership on-court. The defensive pairing of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni is one that is always difficult to stop, with the Sunshine Coast Lightning duo consistently imposing themselves on the game and looking for opportunities to get involved. Shadine van der Merwe is the cog between those two and Msomi in the attacking end, and how they all operate on the day will determine their team’s fate. South Africa is a huge chance to win its first game of the tournament given the names on paper, but everything has to go right, and you can never discount England on home soil.

New Zealand flexes muscles against misfiring Jamaica

THE New Zealand Silver Ferns showed why they are the team to beat with a convincing performance against Jamaica 71-45. The Sunshine Girls simply had no answers for the Ferns who moved the ball with pace and precision, really exploiting their opposition through the midcourt.

New Zealand dominated the first quarter with both Maia Wilson and Ameliaranne Ekenasio doing a wealth of damage under the post only missing a combined two goals. The two were in perfect harmony rotating through the circle with ease and using all the tricks in the book to have an impact on the scoreboard. The work out the front from wing attack Gina Crampton was impressive slicing through the defence. Crampton used her experience and high netball IQ to weave around the court and hit the circle edge with intent racking up four goal assists in the opening quarter. For Jamaica, Jhaniele Fowler was a dominant force once again with the tall shooter commanding the ball and capitalising nailing 10 goals from 11 attempts. But it was the lack of scoreboard presence from Shanice Beckford that really halted the Sunshine Girls ability to have an influence or dictate the game.

The second quarter followed a similar vein but Jamaica upped the ante only out scored by three goals.  The increased defensive pressure through the mid court with Shadian Hemmings coking on at wing defence made a real difference when it came to the speed of the ball down the court. Hemmings was not the only change with Sterling pushed out to goal defence and Kadie-Ann Dehaney pulling on the goal keeper bib. The trio worked tirelessly to shut down the Ferns attacking forays using their read of the play and three foot marking to cause a ruckus. Despite an increased presence by the Sunshine Girls, the Ferns continued their merry way unfazed by the changes and maintaining the same line up.

The half time break proved to be handy for the Ferns who went on a scoring spree in the third quarter piling on 19 goals to Jamaica’s nine. Fresh legs helped to run the Sunshine Girls off their feet with Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Whitney Souness doing the damage in the third. In hope to get back within reach of the Ferns, Shannika Johnson made her way onto the court in goal keeper but appeared to be no match for Wilson who had well and truly settled into her scoring rhythm. Wilson continued her range shooting 12 goals straight while defensively New Zealand took it up a notch led by Phoenix Karaka. The goal defence showed her speed and agility picking off passes and interrupting the flow of Jamaica who simply could not enter the attacking third with ease. Despite not registering a whole lot on the stats sheet the work Jane Watson did off the ball was impressive, working in overdrive to confuse the space and use her feet to consistently get around the body of Fowler. Jamaica really laboured down the court with centre, Latanya Wilson unable to feed into the circle meaning wing attack Nicole Dixon had to lift the load to deliver into the goalers. On the other hand, Shannon Saunders put out an impressive display running hard both ways and using her skill to deliver well-weighted passes into the circle notching up nine feeds and seven goal assists.

By the fourth quarter, New Zealand all but had the win under their belt thanks to a dominate third quarter forcing Jamaica into a chase position. But they did not rest on their laurels scoring their highest quarter score for the game with 20 goals keeping their opposition to 14 goals. New Zealand showcased more of their depth with Kimiora Poi pulling on the centre bib and not skipping a beat with the speedster getting her hand in everything. Poi highlighted both her attacking and defensive abilities managing four deflections, two pickups and four goal assists. Watson’s departure allowed Fowler more freedom with the goal shooter adding 14 goals to the total and while Gezelle Allison had no scoreboard impact she provided another feeding option but it was little too late for Jamaica.

Ill-discipline ultimately cost Jamaica the game with Sterling giving away a whopping 26 penalties, more than the entire Ferns team across four quarters. Wilson proved too strong under the post only missing three of her 45 attempts at 93 per cent accuracy, Ekenasio was deadly too nailing 18 goals at 82 per cent, while Selby-Rickit also impressed, piling on 11 goals from 13 attempts. Fowler was the shining light for Jamaica rock solid under the post with 38 goals from 40 attempts.

2020 Nations Cup: Jamaica stuns a stacked South African side

South Africa (54) defeated by Jamaica (59)

It was a frantic final minute with South Africa looking to do the unthinkable and snatch victory from Jamaica, but the Sunshine Girls stood strong securing a four-goal win to kick start their international campaign. Jamaica flew out of the blocks early pushing their opposition into chase position from the get-go thanks to their slick and patient ball movement.

The Spar Proteas were not afraid to play around with positions, with Lenize Potgieter donning the goal attack bib in the first quarter. Although it took her some time to find her feet Potgieter built into the game, using her netball nous and strong holds to hit the scoreboard. Paired with Ine-Mari Venter, the two showed they have plenty of skill but at times struggle with movement in the goal circle given their holding tendencies. The defensive combination of Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Shamera Sterling was near on unstoppable given their prowess in the air and at ground level. Renowned for their ability to read the play and take an intercept the two consistently delivered, using their feet to get around the body of the opponent and use their long reach over the shot to cause doubt. The Proteas struggled to combat the speed and decision making of Jamaica, constantly on the back foot and unable to find their normal rhythm across the court. Jamaica established a six-goal lead heading into quarter time credit to their clever play and strong defensive play setting them up for a dominant game.

With the defence end, solid Jhaniele Fowler upped the ante under the goal post with the towering goal shooter making light work of Phumza Maweni. The South African goal keeper was on the receiving end of a lot of whistle, bodying up on Fowler and causing contact which ultimately gifted the Sunshine Girls with any easy passage to goal. The work of Nicole Dixon and Khadijah Williams through the midcourt was impressive, constantly identifying the space and delivering the ball into Fowler time and time again. Their turn of pace helped to give them that edge against South Africa with both players driving hard to create space. The connection between the Spar Proteas defensive trio was solid with Shadine van der Merwe plying her trade through the midcourt and down back using her speed to fly through for an intercept. As the game went on the partnership of Venter and Potgieter blossomed with the two rotating through with more ease and choosing the right time to hold or move, while also showcasing that accuracy was not an issue capitalising on their opportunities. Despite the attack end stabilizing, Jamaica were still in full control using the angles to transition down the court and ball speed.

Despite a commanding lead Jamaica made a couple of changes with Sterling switching into her preferred position of goal keeper and Latanya Wilson coming on in goal defence. Ward had an immediate impact, getting involved in the transition and applying strong hands over pressure to block Potgieter’s view. South Africa also rung in the changes with Potgieter dropping back into goal shooter while Lefébre Rademan pulled on the goal attack bib. Rademan offered speed and agility in the goal circle forcing the new Jamaican defensive unit to rethink their approach. Wing attack and speedster Bongi Msomi was crucial through the midcourt for the Proteas, working the ball down the court and weaving in and out of the pocket to make space in the attacking third. But Jamaica was unfazed by the changes, sticking to the basics and thinking through everything their opposition threw at them. By three quarter time the Sunshine Girls held a 12-goal lead credit to their dominant performance across each third.

After a disappointing third term, South Africa came out with a fire in the belly and increased intensity. Goal defence and live wire Karla Pretorius upped the ante hunting the ball at every opportunity and limiting the movement of Shanice Beckford who had the best of her in the previous quarters. Through the midcourt Rome Dreyer lifted her game, using her precision passing and vision to deliver pin point passes into Potgieter and Rademan. The increased movement in the goal circle opened up more options for the Proteas with the two shooters relishing the extra space and causing headaches for the Jamaican defenders. Up the other end, Jamaica brought on Shimona Nelson with the young shooter making the most of her opportunities, holding strong and using her aerial ability to reel in passes. But despite the moment being well and truly with South Africa they left their run too late, with Jamaica running out comfortably.

2020 Nations Cup Preview: Jamaica

WITH the Nations Cup set to commence on Sunday we take a look at how each team is faring up heading into the first international tournament of 2020. It is the inaugural time this competition will take place with England, South Africa, Jamaica and New Zealand all set to do battle in hope to claim the Nations Cup. Jamaica have opted for a similar line-up to the World Cup while adding in some unknown quantities.

Overview:
After a relatively disappointing 2019 international campaign where they did not live up to the expectation and hype of many netball fans, expect Jamaica to come out with a point to prove and a real fire in the belly. All three opposition nations got the better of them during the World Cup and that will be something they hope to rectify in the Nations Cup given the star power they have across the court. The Sunshine Girls ooze plenty of flair and excitement but struggle to maintain that intensity for a solid four quarters, making them a difficult team to match up against. If they are on song early they can really trouble the opposing countries given their solid defensive and attacking units, however their inexperienced midcourt could be their eventual downfall.

Who’s missing?
Queensland Firebirds goal shooter, Romelda Aiken has not made the journey over to England for the upcoming tour. Although she was not often given the start, the talented goaler was a real impact player, able to burst on the court and add to the tally with ease. Aiken is a commanding force in the goal circle, often letting her athleticism and long reach do the talking and could be sorely missed in the attacking half if things are not going to plan. The defensive duo of Vangelee Williams and Stacian Facey are also set to miss the Nations Cup. The two offer a wealth of experience down back while also contributing to the midcourt flow with their attacking mindset. Williams thrives on the physicality, able to body up on her opponents while Facey can take a strong intercept. Another player missing through the midcourt is Adean Thomas with the versatile centre court player able to rotate through wing attack, centre and wing defence. With a less experienced midcourt it will be hard to replace the calibre of Thomas, who can think her way through the pressure and deliver well weighted passes into the shooters.

Players to watch:
Shimona Nelson was unable to play in the World Cup due to injury but proved throughout the Suncorp Super Netball season what she can do on the big stage. Her game developed at a rate of knots in 2019 and she will be hoping to get her chance to shine on the international stage. Despite being costly at times with her hands, Nelson has really tidied her game up by controlling the space, putting up strong holds and shooting high volumes of shots to make her an exciting prospect for the Sunshine Girls. Up the other end, the likes of Shamera Sterling can turn a game on its head in an instant, such is her strength and presence across the court. The lanky goal keeper is not afraid to hunt the ball, renowned for intercepting ability and read of the play. She can sense the moment and is skilful enough to force a turnover or get a timely deflection. Jodi-Ann Ward should not be forgotten, with the talented defender able to have an impact despite her light frame. Ward is nimble on her feet and has a high netball IQ, able to drop into the right places and pick off errant passes that come her way.

New additions:
Despite donning a very similar line-up to the World Cup, the likes of Latayna Wilson have joined the ranks to help bolster the Sunshine Girls’ defensive stocks. Having played with the Celtics Dragons, the defender could offer some useful insight into the Roses shooting line-up having played against them in the Vitality Netball Superleague while also possessing a plethora of defensive attributes such as her lean over the shot. Fellow defender Shannika Johnson is also a new inclusion in the Jamaican side and will have plenty to prove to solidify herself a spot in the Sunshine Girls outfit.

Team list:
Jhaniele Fowler, Shanice Beckford, Shamera Sterling, Jodi-Ann Ward, Khadijah Williams, Shadian Hemmings, Shimona Nelson, Nicole Dixon, Latanya Wilson, Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Gezelle Allison, Shannika Johnson.

NWC19 reviews: Day 2 – Malawi, Northern Ireland and Uganda get their first win on the board

AUSTRALIA (73) defeated ZIMBABWE (37)

The result might not have been a surprise, but the way in which the losing side Zimbabwe stood up to the world number ones captured plenty of hearts across the globe. Both sides won the day before, but Australia was expected to trounce the lowly nation, and proceeded to race to an 8-1 lead early on. But from there, whilst the margin kept building, Zimbabwe’s speed and dare across the court was impossible not to like. They scored 13 goals to Australia’s 15 in the third term giving the reigning champions something to seriously think about going forward. Caitlin Bassett (49 goals from 53 attempts) was the main scorer though maligned for her 10 turnovers, whilst Gretel Tippett had 24 from 28, as well as 16 goal assists and 18 feeds. Our Player of the Game had to be Courtney Bruce who was absolutely phenomenal in goal keeper with nine intercepts and four rebounds, while Liz Watson had a game-high 21 goal assists and 27 feeds. For Zimbabwe, Joice Takaidza (15 goals from 20 attempts) and Pauline Jani (11 from 13) were the key shooters, whilst Perpetua Siyachitema was eye-catching despite 11 turnovers, notching up 12 goal assists and 23 feeds at wing attack, while Felisitus Kwanga picked up four intercepts, five deflections and two rebounds. Australia picked up plenty of whistle in the victory, meaning the side will have to adjust to the umpiring better going forward to ensure they come out on top in closer affairs.

NORTHERN IRELAND (60) defeated SRI LANKA (48)

Northern Ireland assured itself a place in the next stage thanks to a 12-goal win over Sri Lanka in the second day’s matches. The Warriors suffered a huge loss to Australia, but managed to get over the top of a determined Lankans outfit. Northern Ireland lead from start to finish, although the losers managed to reach double figures in each of their quarters, and won the last term 11-9 to show signs of improvement since the first game. Emma Magee was dominant at goal attack with 26 goals from 29 attempts as well as 11 goal assists, 15 feeds, two deflections and one rebound. Up the other end, Gemma Lawlor had eight deflections and an intercept, while Caroline O’Hanlon (22 goal assists , 45 feeds and four deflections) and Michelle Drayne (20 goal assists and 42 feeds) lead from the front. For the Lankans, it was no surprise to see towering shooter Tharjini Sivalingam do all the heavy lifting with 48 of her side’s 50 goals, whilst recording two rebounds. Chathurangi Jayasooriya was strong in defence with eight deflections, one intercept and one rebound, whilst Dulangi Wannithileka had 20 goal assists and 29 feeds as well as nailing the one shot she put to the post.

NEW ZEALAND (78) defeated BARBADOS (25)

Much like Zimbabwe, Barbados came crashing back to earth when coming up against a genuine world class side, suffering a crushing 53-goal defeat at the hands of New Zealand. The Silver Ferns showed no mercy in the big win, piling on 42 goals to 14 in the first half and 36 to 11 in the second half as all 12 players managed to get court time in Noeline Taurua‘s side. Jane Watson was phenomenal in defence – and one of only two players to play a full game – with nine deflections, six intercepts and two rebounds, teaming well with Casey Kopua (six deflections, two rebounds and one intercept), while Bailey Mes scored 30 goals from 33 attempts, had seven goal assists and three rebounds. Maria Folau was used sparingly for 21 goals from 24 attempts, rotated with Te Paea Selby-Rickett (20 from 22). Barbados’ best was once again Shonette Azore-Bruce who picked up two rebounds, two deflections and an intercept in defence, whilst Amanda Knight managed two goal assists, two feeds, two deflections and an intercept.

MALAWI (87) defeated SINGAPORE (38)

Malawi condemned Singapore to bottom spot in the pool with a massive 49-goal win. The Queens rebounded from their loss to New Zealand to completely dominate the second day’s game as every player tasted court time in a confidence-boosting win. Thandie Galleta put on a master class in the midcourt with a massive 37 goal assists, 51 feeds, three deflections and one intercept, while Towera Vinkhumbo had four intercepts, three deflections and two rebounds in the defensive goal circle. In attack, Joyce Mvula (31 goals from 33 attempts) and Jane Chimaliro (23 from 24) teamed well, as did Alinafe Kamwala (27 from 32) who all pumped out a high volume of shots. For Singapore, Sindhu Nair had four deflections and only two penalties in defence, whilst Kimberly Lim (13 goal assists, 20 feeds and 22 centre pass receives) and Charmaine Soh (15 goals from 17 assists, nine centre pass receives) were among the best.

ENGLAND (70) defeated SCOTLAND (34)

It was another comprehensive win for England who ran out 36 point victors over Scotland. Unfortunately, though the Roses will be without star Layla Guscoth who injured her Achilles during the match. Her absence will be a huge loss for England but they proved that they have plenty of star power without her with the likes of Geva Mentor, Eboni Usoro-Brown and Fran Williams all able to do the job down back. Rachel Dunn showcased her class under the post with her traditional and conventional netball style shooting 49 goals from 52 attempts. Her partnership with Helen Housby was impressive with the two finding good space with Housby nailing 14 from 16 while Natalie Haythornthwaite highlighted her versatility swapping between wing and attack goal attack slotting four from four at 100 percent. Though the game was played on England’s terms the likes of Lynsey Gallagher stood up in the goal circle with her clever movement, good footwork and accuracy to post with 13 from 14 at 93 percent. Emma Barrie also displayed her shooting prowess with 11 from 13. Defensively Emily Nicholl worked tirelessly to limit the attacking thrusts from England with two intercepts and three gains for her efforts. Her partner in crime Hayley Mulheron also applied her trade in at goal defence picking up one intercept, two deflections and a gain. But their efforts were matched by Guscoth who won plenty of ball back with two intercepts and three gains while electric centre Serena Guthrie showcased her athleticism picking up two intercepts, two gains and one deflection. 

UGANDA (69) defeated SAMOA (48)

Uganda notched up their first win in the World Cup with a solid performance against Samoa. The She Cranes skipped out to an early lead and never looked back, seeming a class above their opponents who struggled to combat the scoring prowess of Mary Cholock. The holding goal shooter put on a masterclass under the ring with her strength and accuracy to post a real feature of her game, converting 34 goals from 39 attempts. Stella Oyella also had a huge influence in the She Cranes win, making her presence felt on the scoreboard with 17 goals from 18 attempts along with 12 goal assists. Through the midcourt the likes of Racheal Nanyonga was influential finding the circle edge with ease and delivering well-weighted passes into the shooters, racking up 16 goal assists. Nanyonga also showed her defensive capabilities with one intercept, one gain and a deflection. Joan Nampungu was a rock in defence picking up plenty of ball and limiting any easy access to goal for Samoa, finishing the match with four deflections, one gain and two pick ups. For Samoa, Tee Salanoa and Sanita To’o were the shining lights with the two combining well in the goal circle to create screens and scoring opportunities. Salanoa topscored for Samoa with 25 from 26 at an impressive 96 per cent accuracy while To’o registered 20 from 25.

JAMAICA (68) defeated TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO (43)

It was a convincing win for the Sunshine Girls in their second match of the World Cup, however it certainly did not go all their way. Despite a comprehensive 25 goal victory, the Calypso Girls fought for much of the match, only dropping the ball in the second quarter when they shot only eight goals for the term, letting in 25 goals to the Jamaicans. It was an interesting fight for Jamaica, who have arguably some of the most dynamic players in the series with a combination of aerial ability and speed on their side, but Trinidad and Tobago showed a good fight to push the Sunshine Girls in the second half to keep the scoreline in their favour. It was the shooting accuracy that kept the Calypso Girls in it, shooting at a combined 84 per cent and sharing the load well thanks to a shared effort from Sam Wallace (19 goals from 24 attempts) and Kalifa McCollin (19 from 21). Candice Guerero and Rhonda John-Davis also managed the load well around the circle, with a respective 14 and 12 assists, finding the circle edge well despite the defensive pressure from the Sunshine Girls. For Jamaica, Jodi-Ann Ward was phenomenal with three intercepts, three deflections and four pickups, finding plenty of the ball as she battled John-Davis for dominance. Meanwhile, Jhaniele Fowler was the go-to Sunshine Girl at the post with 38 goals at 95 per cent, working well with Shanice Beckford, Rebekah Robinson and Romelda Aiken who also each had patches on court with a combined 30 goals. Similarly to the Calypso Girls, Khadijah Williams and Nicole Dixon shared the load around the circle with 16 assists each from a combined 53 circle feeds. It was the Jamaicans’ ability to capitalise off loose ball that secured them the victory, with 16 gains and 12 rebounds across the board propelling plenty of ball back through to attack.

SOUTH AFRICA (90) defeated FIJI (35)

South Africa put on a masterclass right across the court against Fiji to claim their second win and position themselves nicely in their pool. The Pearls simply could not do enough to stop the SPAR Proteas who had answers for everything that was thrown at them with their clever ball movement, impressive footwork and accuracy to post. The SPAR Proteas made the most of their opportunities in the goal circle finishing with an impressive 91 per cent shooting accuracy while Fiji only managed 75 per cent credit to the intense defensive pressure applied by South Africa. Sigi Burger proved her worth to the side notching up an impressive 32 from 36 while Lenize Potgieter was not to be outdone nailing 33 from 34 at 97 per cent, highlighting her ability to break games apart with her dynamic movement and understanding in the goal circle. Up the other end Zanele Vimbela absolutely dominated, amassing a whopping nine gains, six intercepts, five deflections and three rebounds while Phumza Maweni also showcased her defensive prowess with five gains, two intercepts, three deflections and three rebounds. While the Pearls struggled to combat the pressure of South Africa, the likes of shooter Lydia Panapasa stood tall nailing 11 goals straight. Asilika Sevutia showcased her versatility across the court switching between the thirds. The talented midcourt player started in centre before moving into wing attack and then wing defence, racking up the feeds while also providing strong hands-over defensive pressure to try and slow down her opponents. Defender, Adi Vakaoca Bolakoro left her mark on the game competing hard to win the ball picking up three gains, one intercept, three deflections and three rebounds for her efforts but unfortunately it was not enough to quell the star power of South Africa.

Netball World Cup Preview: Jamaica

THE 2019 Netball World Cup sees 16 countries head to Liverpool, England, with 60 matches played over the 10 day period between July 12-21. Countries have been split into four pools, playing a round robin in that pool before going further depending on their respective success.

Jamaica have rocketed into second on the International Netball Federation World Rankings as of the beginning of July, putting the side in the position to go far in the Netball World Cup based on confidence alone after beating out New Zealand for the bronze medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The Sunshine Girls have proved they have what it takes to challenge the top sides in recent years, using their underdog status to push teams across the board and pose a big threat if given the opportunity. Jamaica have possibly the most difficult lineup of the top five countries as they are in Pool C, taking on South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and Fiji in the opening matches before potentially proceeding forward in the competition.

Captain and dominant goal shooter, Jhaniele Fowler is among the biggest names in the Sunshine Girls camp, standing tall at the post and aided by Romelda Aiken who has proved a stalwart option in the circle since her debut. With young gun Shimona Nelson named but unable to play due to an ongoing injury and limited load, Shanice Beckford will be the key in attack to both feed into the circle and provide a small, speedy option inside with a skilled long-bomb shooting ability. However, with both Fowler and Aiken likely to play the role of the traditional tall holding shooter, it will be down to form for who takes the court, especially given neither player has the versatility, speed or endurance to rotate into goal attack. Aiken can also play a valuable role in defence if required, mixing in with the likes of Shamera Sterling, Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Stacian Facey and Vangelee Williams to generate valuable ball back and propel through the midcourt to attack. Sterling has an exceptional track record over the past year, using her consistency, long arms and lithe movement to cleanly intercept and pick off the loose ball, while Facey and Dehaney can provide different height options to highlight their respective aerial and footwork abilities. But while Jamaica have dominant options bookending the court in both attack and defence, the Sunshine Girls’ midcourt is a relatively unknown quantity so will likely be the difference in the big matches of the competition against more consistent sides. Through the midcourt are Adean Thomas, Khadijah Williams, Nicole Dixon and Jodi-Ann Ward, who all have a wealth of experience and versatility to play whichever role is required of them. With Beckford able to rotate into the midcourt and Ward able to move into the defensive circle if needed, the side certainly has no shortage of options in the instance of injury.

Fixtures:

Round 1: vs. Fiji, July 12
Round 2: vs. Trinidad and Tobago, July 13
Round 3: vs. South Africa, July 14

Predicted finish: 5th